Betty at Fashion Week

Women of substance, rock and roll, and the Eighties

Front-row Seat

Betty at Fashion Week

Women of substance, rock and roll, and the Eighties

-Jennifer Goodkind, co-host of A Fashionable Life

Yesterday was all about Carolina Herrera, Jill Stuart, Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs–names we’ve known for years. How are they interpreting these times? Read on.

HerreraCarolina Herrera is a woman of grace, dignity and femininity, and her Fall ’09 collection is, well, all her: Beautiful, timeless, with a modern yet classic approach. Rich fabrications in delicious shades of forest green, metallics, and a ubiquitous copper-most evident on a jeweled belt that reappeared on dresses, skinny pants and jackets to blouse-and-skirt combinations. Lace details, corsets and some simply spectacular evening gowns suggest that Mrs. Herrera will keep Renee Zellweger Red Carpet-ready and the rest of us wishing that we could afford her clothes.

Okay, that’s the clothing report, now for the Who’s Who: Anna Wintour was seated front row (of course), and next to her was the new social secretary to the Obamas, Desiree Rogers. Ms.Rogers’ presence at Bryant Park (she was also at the Thakoon show) suggests the White House’s interest in fashion extends beyond First Lady Michelle. Desiree Rogers will surely be an influential tastemaker as social secretary but also as a tastemaker through her clothing choices.

Jill Stuart fedoraJill Stuart’s show was held at the New York Public Library–a fabulous venue for a fashion show. The show started late due to the, shall I say, commotion, following the arrival of Paris Hilton and her sister, Nicky. Kudos to Jill’s pr people–Alison Brod & Co.–for getting things well under control as the sisters walked to their seats.

Now, for the clothes. Jill Stuart knows her girl: a little naughty, a little nice and very confident. The show was an ode to iconic women of music (think Stevie Nicks, Cher and Madonna). Draped in gothic cross necklaces and sporting tilted fedoras and an intensely smoky eye, these girls looked sexy and fierce yet unmistakably feminine.

Jill Stuart chiffonI have to say that even with the dependable little chiffon dresses that Jill has become known for and some really great black coats that stood out, I had trouble getting past the fact that I wanted to force-feed each one of the models pizza, Ben and Jerry’s and an extra helping of just about anything with a lot of calories. These girls were too thin. Distractingly thin. I don’t find that look appealing no matter how great the clothes might be.

Next, at the Donna Karan show, day-into-evening clothes ruled. The looks that came down her runway were yet one more reason that Donna Karan is a leader in creating clothes that suggest power and feminity.

Donna KaranAll the pieces in this collection can be mixed, matched, dressed up, dressed down, or accessorized. Jersey tops, skirts and a white poplin button-down is not only practical but doesn’t require too much thought when getting dressed. Who doesn’t want that ease in the morning?

Donna Karan’s version of power dressing is the power of choice. The turtleneck bodysuit or a drapey top over cropped pants is still as perfect now as it was when Donna offered up this look 20 years ago. Staying power works when we are all stretching our dollars. Even if Donna Karan isn’t quite in your budget this year, take a cue from her approach: Invest in classic pieces and reinvent them through the mix!

Marc Jacobs pantsMarc Jacobs and I attended Parsons School of Design in Paris together in the summer of ’82. We were the best of friends, attending fashion shows and classes during the day and partying at places like Club Prive and La Palace at night. Marc showed a reverence for all things Eighties at his show last night. This was the decade when Marc fell in love with the city he now calls home, Paris, and when everyone around him saw the halo around his head eventually turn into a bona fide crown of fashion royalty.

Marc Jacobs jacketTimes are tough–his guest list had been cut significantly–but still, Marc’s show reflected his desire to return to the time Boy George were heard and Dallas was the rage on TV. Whether we will choose to embrace the return of big shoulders or high-waisted jeans, there’s no denying Marc is a showman. And in these troubled times, a little distraction and a great show are always welcome.

Jennifer Goodkind is the co-host, with Jayne Chase, of A Fashionable Life ( They are fashion reporters for ABC News NOW, where they cover the red carpet, Fashion Week and the business of fashion.

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